The Preserve is in a geographic area termed "The Blackland Prairie". The soil is "Houston clay", a Rendzina soil with gray/black surface layers of organic matter overlaying softer, lighter layers of marl, chalk, and limestone. Almost the entire Preserve lies in the flood plain of Maxwell Creek, and the normal annual rainfall is 30-40 inches. You are likely to see many kinds of wildlife in the Preserve: ducks, egrets, cardinals, jays, swallows and many other bird species; bobcats, coyotes, opossum, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, armadillos and squirrels.
The Nature Trail winds through the Preserve in a long loop. Perfect for jogging or strolling, the Trail is about 4,250 feet, or 0.8 miles. Some stretches are crushed granite, other portions are concrete. In rainy weather, the ground to either side of the Trail can become muddy, but the Trail remains largely navigable. The path is particularly pleasant as you wander beneath the trees and near Maxwell Creek or the pond.
Maxwell Creek stretches from just north of Parker Road, southward through the Preserve into Murphy, and east to a pond near Wylie. It was once much larger, with water supplied by the surrounding grasslands and scattered mini-forests. There was significant water flowing down the Creek to provide power for a gristmill that produced flour and cornmeal from the grain raised there. Today the Creek has an elevation of 476 feet, is subject to flooding, and is home to fish, waterfowl, and dragonflies.
William C. Parker was a farmer and successful businessman who owned a gristmill and cotton gin. The cotton gin first used mule power and later a steam engine fueled by wood and coal. After World War II, farmers began to move to cities to work and cotton production declined. The gin in Parker fell silent. Today all that remains of the Parker Gin is part of the original foundation.
- The Barn was built by John Gray in 1847 and expanded in 1943 for more hay and pigs. For safety reasons, visitors are no longer allowed to enter it, but you can still appreciate its historic beauty as you walk along the pond or the Nature Trail.
- The Wishing Well is a Scout project tucked away in the trees north of the Gazebo. The mouth of the well is sealed, so save your coins, but it is still a fun place to visit and take a seat nearby.
- The Wildflower Garden is a beautiful work in progress just south of the trees. Be careful not to tread the garden under foot, but stroll by and see what flowers may be coming up this month.
- The Gazebo is open to all. It is a welcome spot for relief from the sun in summer months, to rest for lunch and conversation, or just to enjoy the view.